Daniel Morgan murder: Met chief censured for hampering corruption inquiry

Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police, has been personally censured for hampering an inquiry into police corruption in the long-running Daniel Morgan murder case.The report of an independent panel inquiring into his death in 1987 found that the Met was “institutionally corrupt” in its handling of the case and accused the force of placing concerns about its reputation above properly investigating. It said the Met misled the public and Morgan’s grieving family.It said the Met delayed handing over vital documents, which then delayed the work of the panel, which was set up in 2013 but is only able to report now, eight years later.

The report criticised police delays in giving access to a police sensitive database, called “Holmes”: “The panel has never received any reasonable explanation for the refusal over seven years by [then] Assistant Commissioner Dick and her successors to provide access to the Holmes accounts to the Daniel Morgan independent panel.”

This, the report says, “caused major delays and further unnecessary distress to the family of Daniel Morgan”.

Morgan, 37, was a private detective based in south London. Together with his business partner, Jonathan Rees, he ran an agency called Southern Investigations.

On 10 March 1987, Morgan was found murdered in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south London, with an axe embedded in his head. Two sticky plaster strips had been wrapped around the axe handle to prevent fingerprint evidence from being left behind.

The Metropolitan police have accepted the first murder investigation was blighted by corruption. To this day, no one has been convicted of Morgan’s murder despite five investigations. The last attempt collapsed at the Old Bailey in 2011.

In 2017, four men targeted by the Met sued the force in the high court, alleging malicious prosecution. Among them were Rees and his brothers-in-law, Glenn and Garry Vian. They denied charges of murder. The three men lost their case against the Met but won a later appeal and were awarded £414,000 between them. The fourth man, Sid Fillery, accused of perverting the course of justice, won part of his claim. He left the Met in 1988, having served as a detective.

In 2013 the then home secretary, Theresa May, was concerned about the lingering claims of corruption and wrongdoing and set up the inquiry into Morgan’s death. It took eight years, much longer than anticipated.

According to the inquiry panel’s website, it has been examining “police involvement in Daniel Morgan’s murder, the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder from being brought to justice, and the failure to confront that corruption”.

It also looked into “the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists at the News of the World and other parts of the media, and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them”.

Morgan’s family has fought to get the killers convicted, and expose those who were allegedly corrupt and those who failed to stand up to corruption. His brother Alastair has claimed there was a cover-up.

Daniel Morgan was married and had two children at the time of his death.